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Association of Research Libraries
Research Library Issues 291 2017
should not be mindful of the security and integrity of rare and
unique materials or of teaching how to handle them, but that they
should interpret the library’s collections as interconnected.
The implementation of a collaborative model should lead to
increased awareness of roles, strengths, and responsibilities within
and throughout the organization. Combining perspectives can
lead to more creativity in projects, including the promotion of all
collections and services. Increased exposure of users to library
services and resources can facilitate inspiration, learning, synthesis,
and knowledge production, which may lead to more library
partnerships with faculty and students. Librarians who recognize
and use one another’s expertise and experience provide users with
a more well-rounded, consistent fabric of services with increased,
cohesive exposure to both general and special collections.
For example, consider the exhibit as a vehicle for collaboration
and the transmission of knowledge. Exhibits, in their curation,
research, and dissemination, can serve as an excellent outreach and
educational tool between colleagues within the libraries as well as the
communities they serve. Traditionally, special collections librarians
and archivists have exhibited archival materials to educate and share
with others. Approaches vary and can incorporate collaboration with
scholars outside of special collections, faculty, students, collectors,
and others. Working with liaison librarians can enable a lively,
vivid point of intersectionality of expertise through their diversity
of perspectives and the pairing of primary and secondary sources
in the exhibition medium. The physical and/or digital coupling of
special collections holdings with general collections items—such
as books, articles, films, other media, and current research—creates
for the exhibit viewer, participant, or co-creator an opportunity
to better understand the nexus of the scholarly process.
For a student, this can create a transformative learning experience
in which they acquire a better understanding of the circuitous path
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